Sir Cliff Darby 1909 – 1992
At a recent meeting of Resolfen History Society Committee, Mr Phylip Jones noted that he felt that Resolfen born Sir Cliff Darby deserved far more recognition for his achievements in the village of his birth. Several members and friends of the Society have also noted this omission and have many warm memories of this “Knight from the Valleys”.
In order to partially rectify this situation, Sir Cliff Darby’s impressive entry in “Who’s Who” and a report from the Western Mail in 1992 are reproduced below.
Darby, Henry Clifford. CBE 1978 (OBE 1946); Litt.D 1960;FBA 1967. Professor of Geography in the University of Cambridge,1966-76 ( now Emeritus Professor). Born 7 February 1909;son of Evan Darby, Resolven, Glamorgan. Married 1941 – Eva Constance Thompson, two daughters. Education: Neath County School; St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, First Class Honours (1926); PhD (1931); MA (1932). Lecturer in Geography, University of Cambridge 1931-45; Fellow King’s College, Cambridge 1932-45 ;1966 -81. Intelligence Corps,1940-41 (Capt.) ; Admiralty,1941-45. John Rankin Prof. of Geography, University of Liverpool, 1945-49;Professor of Geography, University College London,1949-66;Leverhulme Research Fellow 1946-49.Visiting Professor University of Chicago,1952, Harvard University,1959,1964-65 and University of Washington,1963. Member, Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) 1953-77, National Parks Commission 1958-63,Water Resources Board 1964-68 .President, Institute of British Geographers 1961; President Section E British Association,1963.Chairman, National Committee for Geography, 1973-78 .Honorary Member, Croation Geog Soc 1957, Netherlands Geog Soc 1958 ; RGS,1976; Institute of British Geographers,1977; Hon Fellow St Catherine’s College Cambridge 1960.Victoria Medal RGS ,1963, Daly Medal American Geog Soc,1963, Honors Award Assoc of American Geographers,1977. Hon degrees: Chicago 1967; Liverpool,1968; Durham,1970; Hull,1975; Ulster,1977; Wales,1979.
Publications: An Historical geography of England before AD 1800 ( Editor and Contributor),1936; The University Atlas , 1937 ,15th edition 1981; The Cambridge Region ( editor and contributor),1938; The Medieval Fenland, 1940; The Draining of the Fens , 1940; The New Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1970 ; A New Historical Geography of England ,1973; The Domesday Geography of England,1952-77.
The Western Mail reported the death of Sir Cliff Darby:
“Knight from the Valleys dies aged 83
A Welsh former child prodigy, who graduated from Cambridge University with first class honours at the tender age of 19 and went on to become one of Britain’s top geographers, has died
Professor Sir Clifford Darby was born in Resolven, Glamorgan in 1909 and was educated at Neath County School before starting at Cambridge when he was 16 years old.
He retained his Welsh accent throughout his life.
He devoted his work to reconstructing the geography of England during the reign of William the Conqueror and his son based on information from the Domesday book of 1086.
He was knighted in 1988, the first British geographer to be awarded a knighthood for services to scholarship.”